July 05, 2007
117: Take Off (To The Great White North)
Top row (left to right): Kerry, stylin' as Indiana Jones; Duncan catches some late-day weeds; full moon over Lake Athapapuskow on Friday night. Middle row (left to right): the maw of a killer northern pike; the maw of a not-so-killer Anna. Bottom row (left to right): polyphemus moth rescued from the lake; foggy Monday morning just before we left.
Kerry and I joined her sister's family for an extra-long Canada Day weekend of camping at Baker's Narrows Provincial Park near Flin Flon. We purchased a tent, three years ago, but sadly its use had been limited to an initial setup inside our gigantic old apartment and lending it out to a friend once. So it was high time to put it to the test. We picked up some sleeping bags, an air mattress and a cooler a week previous, and our half of the provisions the day before including cinnamon buns from Tallgrass and tasty-fresh other buns from Deluca's.
To get to Baker's Narrows is a 719-kilometre drive. There are pros (and a few cons) to such a long trip to go camping. While I enjoy the ability to drive about an hour to experience relatively unspoiled nature, there's a palpable difference between what is nearby and the rugged vastness of the real north country. This I loved. I also admired the unexpectedness of twilight extending almost to midnight, the traffic jams of loons and mergansers on the lake and the scent that comes from firesmoke-drenched clothing. I took exception to my first sleepless night of ear-buzzing mosquitoes inside the tent (this got rectified though, right quick) and the mind-numbingly empty road home through the Interlake. But the fact that, after living in Manitoba for 25 years, I finally caught a glimpse above the 53rd parallel made the trip absolutely worthwhile.
Baker's Narrows is on the shores of Lake Athapapuskow (say it like you spell it), the epitome of the Great Northern Lake. Unlike many of Manitoba's provincial campgrounds, conscious effort has been put into retaining as much nature around the sites as possible – and because it is out of reach for most weekend urban hooligans, the place quieted down come nightfall even on the long weekend. Any urban hooliganry was reserved solely for Monday night's White Stripes concert, a far cry – mebbe the farthest cry humanly possible – from the quiet and foggy morning we experienced packing up to leave the lake.
Stay tuned to my Flickr site for new photo uploads from the weekend, including better looks at the ones in the grid above.